The performance was amazing. The symphony touched the souls of every person in the concert hall. Upon every note, the audience breathed in the experience and mastery. Upon the final note of audible greatness, the sold out crowd stands in wonderment and gives a great and glorious ovation. Paying for the ticket and sitting for the show was enough. Maybe a polite clap at the end of the show would express gratitude for the effort. A standing ovation is not
typical. In fact, it should be rare. A typical standing ovation is like tipping the waitress for delivering the wrong dish, delivering it cold, and spilling it on you while charging you to remake it, then coming back and doing it again.
The standing ovation is reserved for the extraordinary.
While by definition, extraordinary is not an everyday case. It is, however, something you will see if you are looking. People are silently extraordinary everyday around you. “Standing ovation” worthy performances are given every day at your local Starbucks. The cashier at Trader Jo’s, has performed worthy of a standing ovation many times. My children, hungry and tired, performed at a high level at church while the priest spent too much time discussing things they don’t understand. Robert D. Smith, in his new book 20000 Days and Counting talks about giving people standing ovations. He points out that the last time most adults received even an applause was when they graduated High School. You are here, reading this post, and many others like it because you are extraordinary. Be intentional and sincere in giving 1 standing ovation per day. Tell the barista how much you appreciate her extra effort to make your latte extra hot. Tell her boss, how good she is. Tell the Trader Jo’s cashier how good the salad he taught you how to make tasted. Surprise your kids with a tasty treat for a job well done. A standing ovation doesn’t have to cost you anything except intention. It’s a great investment in others and will provide profound returns.